Monday, May 28, 2012

Bob Veale (#87)

Today's card features Bob Veale, a starting pitcher for the Pirates during the 1960s, until finishing his career as a reliever with the Red Sox. Here we see him in his trademark glasses, about to enter his first full season in the majors.

Although Bob was overshadowed in a league with Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Don Drysdale, and Ferguson Jenkins, he was the ace of the Pirates' staff from 1964 through 1970, and was among the league leaders in strikeouts in the mid-1960s. shows that Veale's minor-league stats also include 1958 (missing from the card). 

Veale was signed by the Pirates in 1958 and pitched 4 seasons in the minors before making his big-league debut in April 1962. He pitched in 11 games for the Pirates that season, while spending some time at triple-A Columbus.

His first full season with the Pirates was 1963, and by the next season, he had taken over the top spot in a rotation that also included veterans Vern Law and Bob Friend. Veale led the NL with 250 strikeouts in 1964, and in '65 struck out a career-high 276 batters. Unfortunately, that was only good enough for 2nd place behind Koufax' 382 strikeouts. His 18 wins in '64 were the most in his career, although he won in double figures every season from 1964 to 1970. Bob was also 3rd among NL pitchers in strikeouts during the '65 and '66 seasons.

By the time the Pirates made it to the World Series in 1971, Bob had moved to the bullpen. He made 37 relief appearances in his last full season with the Pirates, including 2/3 of an inning in the World Series against the Orioles.

After spending much of 1972 in triple-A, in September Veale was acquired by the Red Sox, and spent 2-plus seasons in their bullpen. He was released after a minor-league-filled 1974 season.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jim Lemon (#369)

This is the final player card for Jim Lemon. He would re-appear in the 1968 and 1969 sets as the Senators' manager.

Lemon was signed by the Indians in 1948, and made his major-league debut in August 1950.  After 2 years in the military, he played for the Indians' AAA team in 1953, while also playing 16 games for Cleveland. In May 1954 he was sold to the Senators, and spent most of that season playing for class-A Charlotte, and 1955 at class-AA Chattanooga.

Jim finally gained full-season major-league status in 1956. He spent the next 6 seasons as a starting outfielder for the Senators (although by 1961, they would become the Minnesota Twins). After playing right field for 3 seasons, he moved to left field beginning in 1959. Lemon also made his only all-star appearance in 1960.

During his 5 seasons in Washington, Jim hit 27, 17, 26, 33, and 38 home runs. In 1961, he only hit 14 homers. After starting 118 games in 1961, he dropped off to only TWO starts in 1962, while missing most of the season due to injuries and ineffectiveness. His career quickly went downhill, as he went to the Phillies (May 1963) and the White Sox (June '63). The White Sox released him after the season, ending his career.

Lemon took over as Senators' manager in 1968 (when Gil Hodges went to the Mets). After finishing in 6th place the previous season, the Nats were dead last in 1968. As such, Lemon was canned and replaced by Ted Williams. Both Lemon and Williams have a manager's card in the 1969 set.